Automation and industry go hand in hand. This is both a hotly contested sentiment and an inevitable truth. Just as the industrial revolution drastically improved the production of various industries using machinery, modern automation has a number of advantages to provide. While it may mean taking work away from human beings, it’s ultimately the better choice when possible. Here are just a few examples of ways in which modern technology can transform industry.
Automated customer service is really nothing new. Currently, automated customer service is used for the purpose of screening calls in order to match customers with the departments that can meet their needs without the need for transfers, though some transfers are still necessary. This kind of automatic has become mundane, but it remains woefully insufficient. However, thanks to advances in natural language processing, further automation of customer service roles can potentially be achieved. NLP is a field of science that seeks to allow computers to understand human speech in a more holistic way. In essence, NLP advancements mean that machines will be more capable of parsing meaning from speech, rather than operating on the call and response model that tends to leave something to be desired. Using more advanced speech recognition and understanding, customer service roles can be updated to provide more automated services without losing nearly as much of the flexibility of a human worker and further reducing the workload on human workers.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a design philosophy in which various devices are imbued with additional functionality as a result of added internet connectivity. IoT has had a major impact on the way society runs already, and that trend is likely to continue indefinitely. IoT doesn’t offer automation in the traditional sense, but it does nonetheless make certain tasks and potentially whole jobs obsolete. The main draw of IoT in an industrial or commercial setting is that it provides remote access to devices that can allow instructions to be given and coding to be done on the fly and from a remote location, and this additional flexibility means that supervisors have less need of someone to do the legwork of operating machines to spec. Instead, supervisors can instruct devices directly and connect to multiple devices simultaneously from one remote location. Likewise, IoT devices can have the ability to monitor their inner workings and report back on various potential hardware and software issues, meaning that repairs will be able to be performed preemptively, which in turn means that repairs will be less severe and may be able to be performed on site by regular employees much more often. This work can allow that employees work from home and come in only for certain repairs and will be able to stay on top of their work easier.
Like IoT, cloud computing would not historically be considered automation, but it has a number of the same qualities. Like IoT devices, cloud computing is all about connectivity. Cloud computing is the process of connecting multiple devices over a cloud “network,” and this has a few key advantages. The most notable advantage of cloud computing is that it enables several machines to cooperate on the same task simultaneously and automatically. In essence, cloud computing is the sharing of assets, and while this refers in part to the sharing of data via cloud storage, it also refers to the sharing of processing power. This shared computational power means that more complex tasks can be performed much more easily and much more quickly, and the use of cloud computing likewise reduces the risk that the failure of any one machine in the cloud poses to the overall operation. However, cloud storage isn’t to be taken for granted either, as it outright eliminates the need for the sharing of data via email among a group of colleagues. Instead, cloud storage is the storage of files in a single remote location to which any number of people could be granted access.
While automation provides many benefits to individuals and businesses alike, it also presents concerns of employment. However, using the examples above, it’s easy to see how the principles of automation are ultimately neutral, if not benign. Along those lines, there will likely be many cases in which automation merely aids human workers, rather than outright replacing them.
Publish Date: June 23, 2020 5:59 PM